by Michaela Coplen
He didn’t take Communion for a while
we’d file past   to the priest’s soft drone
& he’d stay praying     knelt   alone    
lips split by breath against unbloodied hands
We all knew that he’d killed a man
or family    in the war we couldn’t name
a civilian home    a small mistake
God & country soon forgave
(they’d given the surviving son     a place to live     
& cash enough         to quiet grievance into grief)
Yet still    he’d see the stained-glass saints   encircled 
by yellow target sights     instead of leaded halo light
& the incense curled too sweetly in the air
& the wafer turned to paper in his mouth